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Telogis IIoT platform helps Poolsure dip into predictive maintenance

IIoT platforms are shaking up fleet management and logistics, helping companies like Poolsure keep customers happy with proactive delivery and predictive maintenance services.

Poolsure built a solid business over 20 years, selling chemical treatment products and servicing commercial aquatic facilities, from community pools to water parks, throughout Texas, Florida and Louisiana. Yet the family-run business is more than your average pool company. Beyond the typical hands-on pool maintenance, Poolsure is making a splash with new services that leverage the industrial internet of things (IIoT) to automate water management, queue up chemicals delivery and support proactive pool monitoring.

Thanks to its new strategy, made possible with the Telogis IIoT platform, Poolsure is no longer bumping up against the competition solely around price. "It gives us the ability to utilize technology to open up doors in the otherwise commodity-driven chemicals market," explained Alan Falik, president of the 120-person company, which has a fleet of 40-plus drivers tending to commercial pool clients. "Now we're selling product as a service -- our customers never have to worry about their chemical levels or about calling us because they ran out of product."

Poolsure is among a still relatively small group of pioneers testing the waters with industrial IoT applications to transform fleet management while providing better service to customers. The advancement of low-cost sensors and new IIoT platforms has brought on a wave of changes in how companies orchestrate trucking and logistics functions, enabling them to tap into a reservoir of real-time data that delivers richer insights into what is moved, tracked and stored every day while fostering new, proactive replenishment services. According to the 2015 DHL and Cisco Internet of Things Trend report, IoT in logistics is forecast to generate $1.9 trillion over the next decade, nearly 25% of the overall $8 trillion in IoT value expected to be produced on a global scale.

Telogis, a veteran telematics provider, is one of the leaders embracing a cloud-based connected intelligence model to help companies manage their mobile workers and assets. While connectivity to industrial assets like cars, cranes, trailers or trucks has been the staple of the company's offering well before the recent industrial IoT hype, the number and variation of sensors coming into the mix along with more ubiquitous internet connectivity is broadening the scope of applications and opening up possibilities for smaller companies like Poolsure to out-innovate the competition, according to Kelly Frey, Telogis' vice president of product marketing. Today, the Telogis connected intelligence platform is helping some companies including Poolsure leverage real-time data to orchestrate services around dispatching; planning, scheduling and route optimization; and analysis of driver behavior and fleet performance.

"In the commercial space, you don't ever buy a vehicle just for fun -- it's always got a purpose," Frey explained. "There are lots of different use cases depending on the industry to leverage IoT to achieve a company's mission."

Now we're selling product as a service -- our customers never have to worry about their chemical levels or about calling us because they ran out of product.
Alan Falikpresident, Poolsure

The Telogis cloud-based IIoT platform collects data from the various sensors using wireless or cellular connectivity and supports a range of hardware, from black boxes in vehicles to mobile devices and laptops. The analytics portion serves up automated reports and insights based on the data collected, including notifications on unauthorized vehicle activity, speeding or airbag deployment, for example, along with KPI dashboards for fleet managers to review driver performance against safety benchmarks across an entire fleet, Frey said.

The extended Telogis portfolio includes the Route Planning Suite for route optimization; ControlRoom for workforce optimization and coordinating responses; a suite of apps for mobile workers; and integration tools for integrating with other enterprise systems. In addition to this platform, Telogis also has a robust OEM strategy, and its fleet management and telematics capabilities are built into Ford vehicles along with Hino trucks and Manitowoc Cranes, among other companies, Frey added.

Predictive maintenance's win-win

Unlike traditional maintenance, which is scheduled when something breaks, the Telogis IIoT platform enables companies to practice proactive and predictive maintenance, monitoring equipment from afar and only sending out crews when there are signs of a problem, often fixing something before it breaks, Frey said. By doing so, companies can optimize scheduling and practice more efficient route management, gaining far greater control over their fleets and saving on mileage and fuel costs. "The more predictive we can make our customers, the happier their customers are and the lower their costs. It's a win-win," he said.

With its core business model now built around automated delivery service, Poolsure is certainly finding that to be the case. Along with the typical maintenance staff and drivers, Poolsure now counts data scientists among its core crew. The company installs controllers at its commercial pool sites that automatically measure chemical levels in the pools and are connected via sensors to bulk pool chemicals stored on site. The setup continuously feeds data to Poolsure, enabling the company to monitor usage and gain insights that will allow for automatic replenishment and optimal routing of drivers, even changing up the mix based on weather patterns and environmental conditions that can alter pool chemistry.

Initially, the Telogis suite has helped Poolsure maximize its field resources while still effectively servicing clients, increasing its fleet's total capacity by 20% with a 35% increase in actual deliveries. Even better, clients are happy since Poolsure knows well in advance if there's a potential problem and is out in front with a fix. "We know if there's going to be a problem before the pool goes green or puts them at risk for liability because the water isn't properly balanced," Falik said.

Leveraging an IIoT platform like Telogis versus building everything from scratch is the only way a company the size of Poolsure can pioneer IoT-enabled services, Falik maintained. "We don't have the deep pockets to build a platform like this nor could we build it quick enough to get a return on investment," he said. "This lets us focus on our core business, which is distributing pool chemicals."

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